From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Austerity-hit Portugal ‘likely’ to miss deficit goal
Tuesday 28 August 2012
by Our Foreign Desk
Foreign inspectors faced a dilemma as they began assessing Portugal’s compliance with its financial bailout agreement today.
Portugal has abided by its commitments to slash spending in return for a €78 billion (£62bn) loan.
But falling tax revenue due to the resulting recession means that Portugal is likely to miss its budget deficit target.
The Treasury collected around €2 billion (£1.6bn) less than expected in tax revenue amid the country’s third recession in four years, with the government predicting the economy to shrink by 3.3 per cent in 2012 and unemployment at a record 15.2 per cent.
The number of bankruptcies jumped 77 per cent between January and March this year.
The constitutional court has ruled out a plan to cut the Christmas and holiday bonuses of public employees and pensioners as unconstitutional and discriminatory.
The government could get around that prohibition by extending cuts to the private sector but that would spark fierce political opposition.
The bailout agreement was signed in May 2011 by the three main parties but that consensus could be unravelling.
The opposition Socialist Party says it won’t back any more cuts because austerity is choking the economy.
Popular Party MPs, the junior members of the coalition government, have also balked at further cuts, as have grass-roots members of the ruling Social Democratic Party.
The austerity programme, including tax rises and pay and welfare cuts has also angered trade unions, bringing a series of strikes and protests.
In what are extraordinary circumstances, former Portuguese Socialist Party (PS) Prime Minister José Sócrates was arrested in front of hordes of reporters and photographers after he landed at Lisbon airport on Friday: here.
Greece: the government’s new attacks provoke anger not fear: here.
- Europe, Spain, Portugal And Greece Shut Down As Massive Austerity Riots Sweep Country (shiftfrequency.com)
- Portugal’s growing discontent (ftalphaville.ft.com)
- Austerity strikes disrupt travel across Europe (worldnews.nbcnews.com)
- Portugal protest over tax rises (bbc.co.uk)
- Portugal protests against austerity (bbc.co.uk)
- Portugal to cut civil service jobs (bbc.co.uk)
- Portugal to lift retirement age, working hours in austerity drive (rt.com)
- Portugal: 39th anniversary of revolution turns to austerity protest (anonymater.wordpress.com)
- Austerity ‘too fast and too deep’ has left Portugal’s economy staggering (irishtimes.com)